Perceptions are everything… it’s all in how you present it. Having a great angle on something can quickly garner the attention of your friends and family. Same holds true for trying to get more attention from the media.
Public relations can be a very powerful tool in your communications toolbox. Few things have the potential to give business a boost like being featured in the business section of a newspaper. Getting in the media spotlight is great exposure. It builds name recognition and adds a sense of legitimacy.
Newspapers and media outlets have gotten a lot of bad press (pun intended) lately, but believe it or not, people still depend on them for a number of purposes. One of those is deciding on what businesses to patronize. In a world with so many options, people need guidance, and a business review or a feature story can be the decision-maker for prospective patrons. For businesses, getting positive media attention is absolutely fabulous because it highlights your business without the inherent bias that accompanies press releases and advertising.
Getting attention can be tough, though. Newspapers and other media outlets can be passive institutions when it comes to the business section, which means you have to do some work to pitch your story.
Journalists are inundated daily with press releases and pleas for media attention from bands, theater performers, and new businesses. It isn’t realistic to cover everything, which means editors are going to choose the person who has the best story and the best angle.
Media are a business too, and they only makes money when they gets people to pay attention, which means the content has to be interesting to as many people as possible.
If you’re thinking about contacting a media outlet, stand out. Editors are very picky about what stories they choose to assign—that’s their job. If you don’t have a fresh angle, you can bet that your press release is going straight into the recycling bin.
An angle simply means how you frame a story—what kind of narrative you are trying to tell. You have to figure out what makes it timely and newsworthy for a media outlet to cover your business.
Let’s say your landscaping company is expanding. That is the plain fact of the story, but the focus needs to be on what is unique about that. You might be able to frame your angle around the fact that the economy is putting other landscaping companies in your area out of business. Then you can explain what your business does differently to be so successful.
Remember to be descriptive, and be compelling. Tell the story as a narrative. Talk about how you sat down with every one of your employees to get suggestions on how to make working conditions better, and how that made your company the one with the highest employee retention rates in town, which led to better morale and better results, which increased business despite a sluggish market.
Think about the issues the media are reporting on and see if you can tell a story that relates through your business. But make your angle clear and unique.
Finally, perhaps the most important thing to remember when pitching stories about your business is that the story needs to be something you would read. Consider whether you would read the story about your company if you didn’t work for it. If you wouldn’t, it’s pretty likely that no one else would, either.